Saturday, 20 November 2010

Panagia Kounistra ...

Its a sunny morning here and the church bells at Tries Hieraches are ringing ...

Today its Panagia Kounistra, the days when the townsfolk return the icon to the monastery at Kounistra in a pilgramage across the hills on the old paths.

The Kounistra walk

The Skiathos Calendar by Betsy Barnard mentions ...

21st Panayia Kounistra (The presentation of the mother of god in the temple,
i.e. when she was taken to serve in the temple as a child aged about 12)

On the morning of the 20th the miraculous icon is brought up to the top
church and taken out of the town about 2.30. The bells ring in town at about
1.00. People follow on foot on the old road to Kounistra. At the monastery
of Kounistra an evening service, all night vigil, bonfires food, much
feasting. Buses run to the monastery all evening.
Early next morning, about 5am the icon is taken back along the old road to
town, people following on foot. To Ayia Triada about 8am, down the old paved
road to the Kalo Pigadi and along the main road to the Tries Hieraches.
Service 9 - 10.30 ...

Most of the village will be walking just after noon, heading up to Acropolis with the band. Young and Old alike, many of the old ladies barefoot. They will be met at Acropolis by men with guns who serenade with a volley of gunfire as the icon passes. Then climbing up on the old paths to Katsarou, then over the hills, visiting shrines and finally up to Kounistra.

Once at Kounistra there will be a service and the villagers will rest and take Coffee, Tsipouro or make the return to town. Many will stay overnight with the Icon, then return in the morning over the hills to Tries Hieraches at first light ...

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